Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane, says Cabinet has welcomed the recent Supreme Court of Appeal judgment - which decided that the right to mine in South Africa in the sense of the right to prospect and mine for minerals and extract and dispose of them is vested in the State .
Addressing media after Cabinet's ordinary meeting this week, the minister said that the court ruled that this right was allocated by the State in accordance with policies that are determined from time to time and embodied in the applicable legislation.
"The court affirmed the Mineral Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 [MPRDA] as the current expression of that right and ruled as incorrect the contention that all mineral rights that had existed in South Africa under earlier legislation had been expropriated under the 2002 law," said Chabane.
The judgment followed an appeal by the Minister of Justice against an earlier judgment that had awarded AgriSA R750 000 in compensation for an alleged expropriation of coal rights under the MPRDA.
"The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that what constitutes an expropriation must be determined on a case by case basis with reference to: what constitutes an expropriation in terms of section 25(2) of the Bill of Rights; what the rights were that the mineral rights holders were entitled to, prior to the commencement of the MPRDA, and whether such rights had been expropriated in terms of the MPRDA.
"The court held that mining rights originated in legislation and not in the common law," he added.